Year 11 GCSE students participate in National Holocaust Memorial consultation

At the start of term, a number of Year 11 GCSE History students were asked to be part of a consultation process which will determine the eventual winner, and designer, for the UK’s National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre. The new memorial will be based in Victoria Gardens, next to the Houses of Parliament, and it is hoped it will attract over a million visitors a year once opened.

The striking new structure will honour victims and survivors of Nazi persecution, educate future generations about the dangers of where prejudice and hatred can lead and serve as a powerful statement about the values we hold as a nation. The brief for the design competition stated that the design had to be an outstanding, ambitious, and sensitive design that creates an emotionally powerful place for reflection and learning. The design will become a landmark of national significance, highlighting the importance and relevance of the Holocaust to the United Kingdom’s history. It will also affirm the United Kingdom’s commitment to stand up against prejudice and hatred, inspire reflection and compassion, and encourage visitors to respect and embrace difference.

Ten designs have been shortlisted. Our History students looked at each of the ten designs, with their eventual preferred choice being John McAslan’s entry.

McAslan’s Memorial proposal is to lay six million stones, all engraved and representing the six million Jewish deaths in the Holocaust, at the centre of the site. The stones can then be removed by the public, linking the generations together, and leaving a reflective space. Our students were impressed, and moved, by the idea that you could carry a link to the past and commented upon the tactile nature of the memorial, and how the stone brings the Holocaust back to the individual as opposed to the almost incomprehensible numbers.